The Rocky Squad

Astute readers of this blog already know that I wrote a book on the general topic of weight loss and my near lifelong preoccupation with it. I self-published Why Your Last Diet Failed You and How This Book Won’t Help You on Your Next One four (four?!) years ago and it did about as well as any self-published, self-marketed, non-fiction book by a completely unknown author would do.

Now that I’m at the point where anyone who would ever buy a copy already has bought a copy, I thought I’d now re-publish the book in the form of a series of blog posts using the ever-popular motif of kids’ drawings pinned to a refrigerator. Please to enjoy.


It all began when I was twenty-four. That’s the first time I consciously remember something wasn’t quite the same with my midsection.

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So I did what every self-respecting person would do in a situation like this. I decided to do something about it.

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With both great pride and high expectations, I took my new purchase home and promptly took control of my issue.

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However, a short time later, I actually got the scale out. It was then that I saw a horrible, horrible site: the kind of vision that ends up burned into one’s memory forever.

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So I did what every self-respecting person would do in a situation like this. I decided to do something about it.

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Unbeknownst to me, though, throwing away the scale doesn’t actually solve anything. A short time later, I saw another horrible, horrible sight.

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Apparently this situation isn’t going to correct itself! I’d better do something. But what?

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That’s when I decided to exercise. And my exercise of choice?

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Swimming. It was a natural choice considering: 1) I’d just joined a health club, 2) I had to do something I wouldn’t thoroughly hate (can you say treadmills?), and 3) I always loved the smell of chlorine.

I also actually enjoyed swimming. In fact, I even swam a whole mile once. Back when I was around eleven or twelve I went to a Boy Scout summer camp. Like all good camps, there was a lake nearby and the scouts had a special Mile Swim program. We called it “The Rocky Squad”. You see, the movie had come out a couple years before and the camp leaders apparently found themselves inspired by Mr. Balboa–not that I remember Rocky swimming during training.

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The lake was half a mile across. All we had to do was get to the other side and back. If you could do that, you were a full-fledged member of the Rocky Squad. Our group waded into the chilly water to the strains of Gonna Fly Now blaring from the camp PA system and we began our watery trek.

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It was harder than I thought and took me a full forty-five minutes to complete the trip. But I did it and I’m not ashamed to admit I felt proud. However, my warm, fuzzy feelings of self-accomplishment only lasted until breakfast the next morning. Do you remember the scene where Rocky begins his training by drinking all those raw eggs? Well, apparently one’s membership in the Rocky Squad was only half-fledged until one performed a similar feat. Everyone who completed the swim the day before had to stand up in front of the entire mess hall and drink a raw egg.

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Oh no. I like my eggs over hard. Very hard, mind you. The tiniest bit of runny yoke makes me gag like a Fear Factor contestant wolfing down banana slugs. They brought each of us a juice glass containing an egg in the runniest format possible. Steely-eyed, I stared down the barrel at the slimy bullet with my name on it. The entire hall began an enthusiastic countdown.

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With the pressure of two hundred peers reaching maximum PSI, I tossed it back. Ugh. I can’t imagine a banana slug being much worse than this. At least phase one was complete, though: I got it into my mouth. Then I made a small but profound tactical error. I held it at the back of my throat a bit too long.

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Ugh. My limited options at this point flashed before me in an instant. Worried about the only other alternative, I summoned the nerve to swallow it. Phase two complete. I embarked upon the return journey to my seat when after only a few short steps my stomach cried out, “What the hell is this?” and promptly returned the egg for a full refund.

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The egg, nearly intact during flight, hit the ground with a sickening splat. The entire camp roared with laughter and in spite of everything, I had to laugh right along with them. The swim leader caught up with me after breakfast. Wiping a tear from his eye, he laughed and said he’d never had that happen before. I should go back one day and see if there’s a commemorative plaque on the mess hall wall sporting my name.

17 Responses to “The Rocky Squad”

Debbi Does Dinner Healthy said
October 17, 2011 at 7:27 am

I read your book and I loved it. Many of the things you said really have stuck with me. I foolishly gave the book to an acquaintence, thinking she would get something out of it but I never heard from her. Now I can’t find another copy of the book. 🙁 Love the cartoons!

    woze said
    October 17, 2011 at 8:56 am

    i saw a bunch at the half price books at lamar and koenig.

      Charlie said
      October 17, 2011 at 2:35 pm


Biz said
October 17, 2011 at 9:47 am

I loved this post Charlie!! The picture of Rocky about to get the pool killed! 😀

Love, your prettier sister, Biz

Helen said
October 17, 2011 at 10:14 am


JohnGL said
October 17, 2011 at 11:27 am

Charlie. Charlie. Charlie!

Great post!

Jenn@slim-shoppin - your really prettier sister said
October 17, 2011 at 11:54 am

Loved the pictures Charlie!!!

I love the picture of you flinging the scale 🙂

Tony... Your Ugly Brother In Law said
October 17, 2011 at 12:26 pm

I wish all stories could be told by cartoon. Can you please do David and Goliath?

    Charlie said
    October 17, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    Congrats! This was (approved) comment #4000.

Deb said
October 17, 2011 at 12:54 pm

Yay! We got the new format! Yaaaayyyy!

(OK – maybe I need to get out more)

May you always have sharp pencils and lots of paper on hand. Like. It. So. Much!

    Charlie said
    October 17, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    My plan (for now): a non-picture post on the first Monday of the month highlighting my breath-taking weight loss adventures. Then picture posts on the third (and fifth) Mondays of the month.

Paleo Chili Mac « My Bizzy Kitchen said
November 9, 2011 at 7:21 am

[…] Since a bunch of you commented and emailed me about my brothers last blog post, you have to go read this one – its my favorite post! […]

    Sonia said
    November 9, 2011 at 7:41 am

    Love it! Thanks for pointing out your brothers blog Biz.. Humor is a wonderful thing 🙂

MaryBe said
November 9, 2011 at 8:27 am

Can you imagine an “eat a raw egg” Boy Scout Badge?? Amazing what camp counselors used to get away with. Well, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger (or, gives you salmonella)

    Charlie said
    November 10, 2011 at 9:23 am

    I don’t think salmonella had been invented at that time. 🙂

your prettier sister said
May 16, 2012 at 1:53 pm

So funny, I’ve read that before and it still makes me laugh so hard

Love the photos!

Paleo Chili Mac | My Bizzy Kitchen said
February 13, 2014 at 11:53 am

[…] Since a bunch of you commented and emailed me about my brothers last blog post, you have to go read this one – its my favorite post! […]

Leave a Reply. All the cool kids are doing it.


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